Markens kraft: Skogsbiologi, industrialism och skogsmarkforskning

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Avdelningen för idé- och lärdomshistoria

Sammanfattning: This thesis examines Swedish forest biological soil research in its newly institutionalized form, performed in relation to industrialized silviculture, during the years 1916-1923. The main objective is to analyze how the early forestry scientists pursued, and legitimized, knowledge on forest soil for industry and society, and also to draw attention to less considered empirics within history of science. The key theoretical concept used is “co-production”, which captures the nature of scientific knowledge as something co-produced with social order. In addition – aiming at legitimizing processes – Bruno Latour´s concept “translating interests” is also utilized. This concept seeks to identify processes where the scientist makes knowledge useful by “translating” other actors’ interests to something coherent with the specific scientific practice. Methodologically the analysis is performed by inventing which representations where mobilized in order to legitimize knowledge on forest soil. Thereafter it is examined how these representations where used in order to translate interest, and therefore also which industrial and societal interests or goals that were being co-produced along with knowledge on forest soil. The main source material is scientific papers and doctoral thesis on forest soil, written by botanist Henrik Hesselman and his assistants Carl Malmström, Lars-Gunnar Romell and Olof Tamm, which were printed and distributed by the scientists’ institutional base, The State Forest Research Institute. The analysis focuses on three identified legitimizing representations. The first one is a representation of cultivation with which the scientists draw on logics from as well farming as agricultural chemistry to highlight the need, within forest management, to control the yield of the “harvest” by systematically cultivating the forest ground. The second one is a representation of the “biological forest”. This is seen as part of an international movement within forestry science were mathematically and geometrically based research were replaced by forest biological investigations, characterized by holistic methods and the understanding of the forest as the sum of a complex interplay between a range of different factors, where Hesselman and his assistants focused on soil-plant relations. Here the chemistry of soil is articulated as the forests central node, and hence – as a way to legitimize the knowledge – is putted as the centre of attention for as well forestry research as the practical management in the woods. The final representation is one of specifically Swedish forest ground, described in a metaphoric language which draws its logics from factories and industrial machines. The soils chemistry is seen as the “regulator” which controls the quantity and quality of timber production. The research is conducted mainly in order to investigate premises for production optimizing. The main argument, concerning why Hesselman and his assistants managed to legitimize their knowledge, were that they performed a successful translation of interests where societal goals of forest management and sustained yield where offered more prosperous features if they were reached after a “detour” through the chemical laboratory, and that Hesselman succeeded in translating the main economical aspects of silviculture to a matter of soil chemistry.

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